The W. Edwards Deming Institute Blog

The Improvement Guide

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cover image for The Improvement Guide

The Improvement Guide is a fantastic book on using the PDSA cycle well. The 2nd edition was published in 2009. The power of applying the PDSA cycle properly is huge. It leads to successful improvements which is important. Using the PDSA cycle also reinforces many aspects of applying Dr. Deming’s principles.

Together with Leader’s Handbook the Improvement Guide are 2 books I think every manager needs on hand to use as a reference as they apply Dr. Deming’s management ideas. The biggest drawback with both books is that they are only available in printed form – no electronic formats are available which is really a shame.

The Improvement Guide provides insight into how to effectively use the PDSA cycle (also known as the Deming Cycle and the Shewhart Cycle) to succeed. The authors think systemically and understand variation and the importance of creating effective improvement processes. The way I see it Dr. Deming’s books focus on the principles. The Leader’s Handbook and the Improvement Guide are resources to help you operationalize those principles in your own setting. Don Wheeler’s books also are a great resource for the details on using control charts and Statistical Process Control (SPC).

One of the important reasons that the Improvement Guide and the Leader’s Handbook are so useful is they provide practical hands on advice while integrating those details with an understanding of the complete management system.

Related: Clearing Up Myths About the Deming Cycle by Ron Moen, Cliff Norman – Tom Nolan at the Deming Institute Conference on PDSA (and more)The Essential Deming – New Book on Dr. Deming’s WorkInspection is too late. The quality, good or bad, is already in the product.Keys to the Effective Use of the PDSA Improvement Cycle


Categorised as: continual improvement, data, understanding variation


6 Comments

  1. […] which provides some additional framework and standardization around the PDSA improvement cycle. The Improvement Guide is an excellent book on this topic. 3 questions are asked to set the stage for the […]

  2. […] on prediction in the planing phase and then evaluation of that prediction in the study phase. As I have written previously The Improvement Guide (by the API consultants, including Ron Moen) is the best book to help improve the application of […]

  3. “If one only considers the “problem” category of results from a system, one may either miss an important causal relationship (as in the Challenger case) or erroneously infer presence of a causal relationship…”

  4. […] In the podcast Doug talks about their strategies for helping people use PDSA (instead of avoiding it). I strongly suggest anyone interesting in using the PDSA cycle well read and continually reference, The Improvement Guide. […]

  5. […] inclusion of the 3 questions should be familiar to everyone who uses The Improvement Guide. And if you are not using that book, you should be. As I have mentioned before it is the best […]

  6. […] In the most recent Deming Institute podcast Ron Moen and Cliff Norman, of Associates in Process Improvement (API), discuss their paper (to be published in 2016), “Evolution of Deming’s System of Profound Knowledge” and the “journey of learning” Dr. Deming and they have experienced. Ron Moen and Cliff Norman are co-authors, along with their colleagues at API, of the excellent book: The Improvement Guide. […]

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